A re-visit of one of my favourite topics in the realm of Asia-Europe relations, my recently published volume looks at the impact of political institutions such as the EU and ASEAN on trade and economic relations. The discourse is one I started with my colleagues as a graduate student of diplomacy at CEU and the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna. The past 10 years have convinced me that while political institutions can provide a great framework of protection and facilitation, the secret of healthy Euro-Asian relations is the steady flow of trade and ideas.
The volume is a bit heavy reading for those outside of the political science realm, but it is worth the effort for its arguments. The fact that buzz words such as ASEAN Plus Three and ASEM are not so much in the headlines today as 10 years ago only serves my conclusion. Without production, trade and research cooperation, political and diplomatic work can do little to enhance the interregional process between these two fascinating continents.
More importantly, genuine cooperation will depend on more intensive cooperation on the level of civil society and grassroot movements. This challenge will not become easier soon, seeing a tightening grip of spontaneous movemenents in China, and diminishing funding of NGOs in Europe due to the financial crisis.
I don’t think there will be queues for this book very soon, but if you have a civil society initiative that can help the people of the EU and Asia link up and work together, and you think we could join forces in promoting our causes, contact me and we will figure out a way.